As a result, the UN was held responsible to varying degrees for the refugees' situation.(15) The UN General Assembly, in an effort to meet the needs of the Palestinian refugees, created a program called the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees ("UNRPR") in November 1948.(16) The General Assembly charged UNRPR with providing relief to the refugees, although its work consisted largely of coordinating the voluntary relief work provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the League of Red Cross Societies, and the American Friends Service Committee.(17)
On 8 December 1949, the UN created the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East as a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly, and UNRPR's assets and liabilities were subsequently transferred to UNRWA.(23) UNRWA's main functions were:
Before UNRWA began its work, voluntary organizations had provided relief under UNRPR coordination.